UCU Elections.

Engage supporters have been emailing Engage with regard to the forthcoming UCU elections.

Broadly there are two factions within UCU.  One, is ‘UCU left’ which is dominated by the Socialist Workers Party.  UCU left has consistently supported candidates who support the exclusion of intellectuals who work in Israel from British universities.

The other faction is a soft-left faction which has, by and large, opposed the boycott, although it has been ineffective in opposing it and it has been ineffective in standing up to antisemitism in the union. Their letter is below :

Dear all,

We are writing to you about the current round of UCU elections. We would encourage you to take the time to vote as those elected will be responsible for determining the direction of the union in what is certain to be a difficult period.

Attached below is a list which we hope you take into consideration when voting. We believe that those listed will work to ensure that the union focuses on a core, trade union agenda in a non-sectarian manner. All are standing on their own platform with no pre-selection or manifesto screening.

With funding cuts and job threats, we believe the union must take practical measures to protect members. Employers will, of course, seek to exploit the situation to hold pay levels down and we must be prepared to take all reasonable and possible measures to protect the interests of members. Equally, however, we must not allow ourselves to be provoked into ill considered, knee jerk reactions on pay. Indeed, given the severity of the threatened cuts, we must seek to put ourselves at the head of the widest possible coalition to defend FE and HE. This will, necessarily, involve a willingness to work with all stakeholders – with universities and colleges as well as with our more traditional allies in the student movement, professional bodies and other trade unions. UCU should throw down a challenge to VCs and principals to follow our lead in a joint endeavour to fight the cuts and defend education.

This year, there is an election for the Vice-President (Further Education) and all members, FE and HE, are entitled to vote in this election. The winner of this election will become overall President in two years. Thus, we would particularly encourage members in higher education to vote in this election, even though it appears as an FE election. We strongly recommend voting for KATHY TAYLOR. Kathy has much experience in FE and has also sought to understand the culture and context of industrial relations in Higher Education and supported those of us in HE where possible. In addition, Kathy has shown an acute understanding of the wide variety of members in UCU- FE academic staff, HE academic staff, Academic-related staff, women- as well as understanding the needs of those in each of England, Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland.

We hope you find this of assistance

Alan Carr- Open University, National
Treasurer UCU

John McCormack, Northland College,

Joanna DeGroot- University of York and

Anne Bainbridge – Bishop Auckland
College Branch Secretary (FE)

Roger Brooks, President Liverpool UCU
and NEC

Angela Roger- University of Dundee,
UCU Scotland Honorary Secretary and

Simon Renton- UCL and NEC (HE)

David Limb, North Western Regional
College UCU, N. Ireland Region
Secretary, NEC(FE)

Roger Walters, President Open University
UCU and NEC (HE)

Tricia Gott- Bradford College Branch
Secretary, NEC

Jimmy Donaghey- Queen’s University
Belfast and NEC(HE)

Pauline Collins- Open University,

Terry McKnight- University of Ulster and

Cath Hepburn – Sunderland College and
Northern Region FE Committee
Secretary (FE)

David Branson – Middlesbrough College
and Northern Region FE Committee
Chair (FE)

Roger Undy, President Oxford UCU

Ian Cusack – Tyne Metropolitan College
Branch Secretary(FE)
Joe Gluza, Treasurer Cambridge UCU and

Jonathan Spink – South Tyneside College
Branch Secretary (FE)

Dave Guppy, UCL UCU and NEC(HE)
Mavis Taggert – Northumberland College
Branch Secretary (FE)

Steve Clark, Nottingham Trent UCU,

John Perry St. Austell College NEC FE
member for the South (FE)

Steve Snowball – Branch Secretary
Newcastle University, (HE)

Angi Lamb, LA President Edinburgh

Philip Burgess, University of Dundee and

Bob Langridge, Oxford Brookes Branch
Secretary (HE)


Note: in most constituencies there are fewer recommended candidates than seats available- this reflects that it is important to maximise the vote for the candidates listed. Feel free to continue preferences to as many as you see fit. In most elections, there is no advice on ordering candidates but it is important members extend their preferences to all the candidates listed below.

In the VP (Further education) and the HE/FE Women’s seats, all members may vote and we would strongly encourage you to vote even if the election is in the other sector

Vice-President who is a member of the further education sector

Kathy Taylor (Newcastle College)

Geographically-elected members of the National Executive Committee (NEC)

North East, further education sector (two members to be elected)

David O’Toole (Newcastle College)

North East, higher education sector (three members to be elected)

Dr Joanna de Groot (University of York)

London and the East, higher education sector (four members to be elected)

Simon Renton (University College London)

Dr Steve Sangwine (University of Essex)

4 UK-elected members of the National Executive Committee (NEC)

John McCormack (Newcastle College)

UK-elected members, higher education (seven members to be elected)

Roger Brooks (University of Liverpool)

Dr Steve Clark (Nottingham Trent University)

Angi Lamb (University of Edinburgh)

Bob Langridge (Oxford Brookes University)

Bethan Norfor (Open University)

Gordon Watson (University of Strathclyde)

Representatives of women members from the further education sector (two members to
be elected)

Mrs B Monica Goligher (Belfast Metropolitan College) #1

Sheila Smith (Birmingham Metropolitan College) #2

We recommend giving first preferences to B Monica Goligher and second preferences to
Sheila Smith

Representatives of women members from the higher education sector (three members
to be elected)

Pauline Collins (Open University)

Ann Blair (University of Leeds)

Casual UK –Elected member of the NEC (Higher Education)

Dave Guppy (University College London)

7 Responses to “UCU Elections.”

  1. UCU Left - Democracy in action Says:

    The following is an email from Sean Wallis (UCL UCU, and London Region HE secretary) to London HEIs re the NEC ballot needing to be re-run.

    Worth noting are the two candidates referred to by Sean in his final para, both are UCU Left members as is Sean.

    Date: Mon Mar 1 13:27:10 2010
    Subject: [UCU-Members] FW: National Exec Elections – London Region HE

    Due to an administrative error it has been found necessary to re-run the ballot for election to UCU National Executive for HE representatives from London and the East. For further details please see: http://www.ucu.org.uk/circ/html/UCU243.html

    However, please note that any ballot paper that you have already completed and returned for HE Posts in London and the East will now be declared void. Fresh ballot papers (on yellow paper) were sent out by post yesterday and you should be receiving them shortly. Please ensure you fill them in and post them off as soon as possible, but certainly in time for the new closing date of 12 noon, Wednesday 17th March.

    We would also like to remind you that Mark Campbell (London Met UCU Co-ordinating Committee Chair, and current NEC member) and Jim Wolfreys (UCU President at King’s College) recieved the overwelming endorsement
    of UCU London Region at our last meeting.

    Sean Wallis
    London Region HE Secretary

    Sean Wallis
    branch secretary, UCL UCU
    020 7679 3120 (int. 33120)

    For enquiries about joining UCU email r.m.jones@ucl.ac.uk
    Website: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/unions/UCU

    • Geoff Williams Says:

      Great detective work “UCU Left – Democracy in Action”!
      It is no secret that Sean Wallis and the two candidates he mentions are members of UCU Left, as they indicate this on their election statements.
      By contrast, the statements by certain supporters of the above list mention no affiliations in their election statements, particularly if they are supporters of Engage, using instead a set of ccded phrases such as “core, trade union agenda in a non-sectarian manner”. Not for instance, “right-wing trade unionism”, or “New Labour”, or “opposed to the Israel boycott”. All of these quite tenable positions which members have the right to hold, of course, it’s just that they are never stated: perhaps they are ashamed of them?
      In my branch and many others in London, it is precisely the UCU Left supporters who carry out 95% of the “core trade union agenda”, including holding together coalitions of differing political opinions on their branch committees.
      Time for some honesty from your side, don’t you think?

  2. kihotic Says:

    Your assertion that there are two factions is misleading to the vast majority of the membership who are neither. You make the same mistake that UCULeft makes by choosing a slate: to imply that anyone who is not with you is against you. This is a real problem in UCU now, in my opinion. Those people who choose not to align themselves with one or the other, and who may well be excellent choices are in fact damned by omission. I am very dismayed by the polarisation in UCU that this site (as well as the SWP and to a lesser extent UCULeft…they are not the same) is exacerbating. You (Engage, UCU Left, SWP and Harry’s Place) are alienating members, even active ones. What a shame.

  3. Sarah B Says:

    Geoff – one of the candidates explicitly articulated his opposition to a boycott of Israel. I don’t see any problem in saying that you stand for “core, trade union agenda in a non-sectarian manner” and choosing to put it that way even if you have Israel boycott issues at the back of your mind. I think lots of people simply are not that interested in I/P – it’s not so much that they are *opposed* to a boycott – though they may be – it’s more a matter of being opposed to the union spending its time (and our money) on such things. People reading this site may well be more concerned about antisemitism/antizionism – but there are many others who are simply concerned about their jobs (obviously most people are concerned about both – it’s just a question of emphasis).

    Kihotic – I don’t fully understand your point. The choice seems to be between far left and left. Most people are not far left. If you support a main stream political party you are likely to want to go for more soft left candidates than far left ones.

  4. kihotic Says:

    Most people are trade union members who don’t want their views to be determined by where they stand on the state of Israel’s defences or the Palestinians rights or wrongs. But this site and others won’t let that be irrelevant; in fact both sides are subverting the strength of the union to make their opposite political points of view on one question. I don’t believe it is the choice between the left and the far left, (which in the context of trade unionism, UK politics, the future of education would be ok, that level of discussion is healthy). no, it’s about zionism or anti-zionism. i didn’t sign up to the union to be one or the other, and where I stand on the question is not the union’s business, but both sides think it should be. the vcs must be laughing their well paid a**** off while we waste our time on this, and un-necessarily set up animosities because although we agree about 99% of things, we will work against each other because of the 1% we disagree on and spend so much of our time on that. I repeat, what a shame. And quite possibly, what a waste of my money.

  5. Sarah B Says:

    Kihotic – I agree with your closing point about how we should be focusing our energies on the many things which probably unite pretty much all of us. But that’s precisely one of the reasons why I’m against the Israel boycott issue – it’s not as though we are talking about a ‘pro Israel’ camp on the one hand and a ‘pro Palestinian’ camp on the other (although there’s a bit of that inevitably!). It’s a choice between singling out Israel for unique scrutiny and having no special position on the I/P conflict – between an extreme position and a neutral one. I’d turn your point round and say it’s actually the SWP types who are subverting the strength of the union to indulge their obsession with Israel. It’s hardly bolstering the strength of the union to cause several members to resign. My opposition to the boycott wasn’t triggered by any special interest in I/P (and I suppose I may as point out that I’m not Jewish even though that shouldn’t really be relevant) but was purely a response to what I instinctively felt was an unfair and divisive move.

  6. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    kihotic, I decided not to become a “retired member” of Natfhe (before the amalgamation) precisely because of the waste of resources on I/P. I had spent years on my branch committee as the senior Health and Safety TU Rep, had been on TUC courses to make me better at this role and felt that the focus on I/P drew attention away from pay and conditions. We had, in my place, a nasty chemical explosion that, allegedly, caused permanent health damage to some employees (of another union): even management admitted that a focussed H & S policy and practice would have been cheaper than the resultant court case and compensation.

    If these issues (and myriad similar ones) are solved, then maybe it’s permissable to look outside the “parish”. It’s also right to be internationalist. What is not permissable is to focus on one state as though it’s the only evil one in the whole world (and, surprise, surprise, it’s the only Jewish state in the whole world), ignore all the others and then act surprised when you’re accused of antisemitism, all the while ignoring local issues.

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